“Hey check this out”

There’s another cost that creators tend to miss too: How much does it cost for people to find your work? To read the reviews or read an article about it? How much time does it cost to download, wait for it to arrive, or set up? These costs – transaction and discovery costs – exist even when your work is free! Think of the free concerts you haven’t attended, the samples you didn’t bother to walk over and try, the products you didn’t buy even though they were 100 percent risk-free, love it or get your money back, no money down. When you think about it this way, it’s really amazing that people buy or try anything at all!


When we say “Hey check this out,” we’re really asking for a lot from people. Especially when we are first-time creators. Why take the risk? Hugh Howey, author of the wildly popular Wool series and one of the first big successes in the self-publishing era, has said that it’s essential for debut authors to give away at least some of their material, even if only temporarily. “They’ve gotta do something to get an audience,” he’s said. “Free and cheap helps.” So does making the entire process as easy and seemless as possible. Th more you reduce the cost of consumption, the more people will be  likely to try your product. Which means price, distribution, and other variables are not only essential business decisions, they are essential marketing decisions.


– Ryan Holiday, “The Perennial Seller”